Travelling for Social Disentanglement, the sequel.
September 27, 2010 2:16 PM   Subscribe

It's that time again. Can you help me escape to somewhere quiet, remote, and definitely not of this continent (specifically, North America)?

To avoid a long story, let's just say that, like a lot of people, I need to get away sometimes. I have a loving, understanding wife who encourages this, and a bunch of frequent flyer miles. Four years ago, I went to Ecuador and hiked the Andes for 3 days. Two years ago, I ended up in a hostel in the middle of Austria at the beginning of the snow season. Now, I need to get away again, and I want to do it sooner than later.

Where have you gone to escape the world? What places have you dreamed of? I'm interested most in places that feel a million miles away. Yes, I have limited time (probably 7-ish days), but the airplane ride is part of it, so I'm okay travelling far for 3-4 days of escape. Mongolia (specifically, either the Steppe Nomads Tourist Camp or the Three Camel Lodge) is appealing, but that trip will have to wait until late in the Spring, because of the weather there. I've looked at places in Bangladesh, Laos, Argentina, and Brazil. I even considered Bhutan, which really intrigues me, but I don't want to do it as part of a tour group.

Before I decide, I thought that I would check on the collective wisdom here. I want to go very, very far away. I want to look out over strange lands, and hike to places I never knew existed. Where might that be?
posted by xorowo to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

... and it won't be there (like it is) much longer as the Han Chinese flood in to remake it. November was perfect there.
posted by leafwoman at 2:20 PM on September 27, 2010

Bolivia has some of the most beautiful mountains and "unexplored" type land on earth. I'm going to take a trip in May where I'll fly to Bolivia, then take a shorter flight, and then have someone drive me two days into the wilderness where I'll hopefully meet them again after peak bagging for two weeks.

I see Alaska mentioned in the last post but I'd like to say that again anyway. If you haven't been there the whole state is so incredible.
posted by zephyr_words at 2:24 PM on September 27, 2010

Lhasa is still unearthly. Luang Prabang in Laos is my idea of heaven.
posted by cyndigo at 2:39 PM on September 27, 2010

Ethiopia. Specifically, northern Ethiopia. Fly into Addis Ababa and immediately go north to Lalibela. The mountains are beautiful, but the 1000-year old rock hewn churches are truly spectacular.

You won't have seen anything like it, because really there is nothing like it in the world. Also, the weather is wonderful (they say 13 months of sunshine, though it does rain in July and August). The calendar there is different; the alphabet is different; the food is different; the way of telling time is different. The people are astonishingly beautiful.

Ethiopia is not hugely busy with tourists, though it does have a tourist infrastructure, and the people are generally quite warm and friendly and speak enough English that you'll have no problem without knowing the language. Ethiopia is also very safe for travelers (I traveled in town and country just me and my three year old son; we had no problems).

The New York Times has some nice stories on Ethiopia.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:42 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I second Luang Prabang, Laos.

Or, although a tad more hectic and touristy, maybe Siem Reap, Cambodia. The temple ruins are flat out amazing.

If you don't mind cooler weather, maybe check out Akureyri, Iceland; Nuuk, Greenland; or Sitka, Alaska. All very unique culturally, and physically, and four days is probably ideal for those places.
posted by Beardsley Klamm at 2:51 PM on September 27, 2010

Canaima National Park, Venezuela. You can go hike in the tepuis, or canoe along the river, and perhaps check out Angel Falls.
posted by ambrosia at 3:00 PM on September 27, 2010

I may be kind of a freak, and I've certainly never been there, but I desperately want to visit the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug someday.
posted by KathrynT at 3:50 PM on September 27, 2010

Southern Chile will be real remote really fast. There are frequent flights to Santiago and either take a bus south for a day or so. I've never been but Chiloe island seems really interesting, looks like there are direct flights if you're in a hurry.
posted by sammyo at 4:09 PM on September 27, 2010

Wadi Rum, Jordan is spectacular, and winter is the right season. Most tourism is small-group with Bedouin guides. These guys, who I believe I used, do offer an "alone in the desert" option, which I assure you would be pretty damn alone. Tack on a crowded/touristy day at Petra, which is simply the most amazing place I've ever been.

Also awesome is the Longji Titian rice terraces, near Guilin, China. The entire Guilin area is truly otherworldly, and the terraces are impressive, with traditional style wooden guesthouses. Dazhai, at the north end, gets less tourist traffic than Ping An. No cars and limited electricity when I was there a few years ago.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:35 PM on September 27, 2010

Stewart Island / Rakiura, a small island at the very south of New Zealand. There are a couple of tiny settlements, and the rest of the island is a national park. It's about as remote as you can get, and exquisitely beautiful.
posted by embrangled at 5:49 PM on September 27, 2010

If you were into Scuba diving I'd say Misool Eco Resort. It takes quite a while to get there though.
posted by matty at 5:59 PM on September 27, 2010

Go somewhere you can snorkel and see a lot of coral. It's bleaching fast, and snorkeling is wonderfully meditative and otherworldly.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:46 PM on September 27, 2010

Go to Tasmania. There are a variety of hiking areas - Freycinet Peninsular, Cradle Mountain, have a look at the Discover Tasmania site for some more ideas. Beautiful, remote places.
posted by AnnaRat at 3:24 AM on September 28, 2010

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon?

It's a French territory, in the North Atlantic, quite close to Newfoundland. You could visit Europe without spending all week in transit!
posted by Sallyfur at 12:39 PM on September 28, 2010

Just a quick update -- all of these are fantastic options, and I've made note of them for future trips. For this one, I've booked a flight into Kathmandu, Nepal, and have found a place about two hours outside of the city that looks perfect. TONS of flying, logistics, etc., but since I don't really mind that, I'm quite excited about how this will work.
posted by xorowo at 9:02 PM on October 9, 2010

Sounds fantastic! Have a great trip! Don't forget to send us a postcard!
posted by bluedaisy at 11:39 AM on October 10, 2010

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